Extract from Thomas Jefferson to Volney

Nero wished all the necks of Rome united in one, that he might sever them at a blow. so our ex-federalists, wishing to have a single representative of all the objects of their hatred, honour me with that post, and exhibit against me such atrocities as no nation has ever before heard or endured. I shall protect them in the right of lying and calumniating, and shall go on to merit the continuance of it, by pursuing steadily my object of proving that a people, easy in their circumstances as ours are, are capable of being conducting themselves under a government founded not in the fears & follies of man, but on his reason, on the predominance of his social over his dissocial passions, so free as to restrain him in no moral right, and so firm as to protect him from every moral wrong, which shall leave him in short in possession of all his natural rights; nothing being more demonstrable than that he has no natural right in opposition to his social duties. this is the object now nearest to my heart.

PrC (DLC). Published in PTJ, 37:295–7.
Author
Thomas Jefferson
Recipient
Constantin Volney
Date Range
Date
April 20, 1802
Collection
Quotes by and about Thomas Jefferson
Quote Category